A Parliamentary report recently called for improvements in safety at the country's nuclear power plants. In response, the state-backed power utility EDF, which operates the plants, insisted that safety is its top priority. But documents from the French nuclear watchdog the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire seen by Mediapart – but not by French MPs who wrote the report – reveal a different story. They show that procedures to prevent explosions in areas of several nuclear plants are deeply inadequate and in some cases non-existent. Pascale Pascariello reports.
A senior local official said the blast at the site in northern France was a 'significant technical event' but was not a 'nuclear accident'.
On Friday April 22nd the board of directors at French energy giant EDF announced they were delaying a final decision on building two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point in Britain. The news came in the wake of an unprecedented rebellion by EDF staff against the 23-billion-euro project which some fear could even lead to the demise of the state-owned French company. Mediapart has seen a letter backed by 400 managers which calls on EDF's directors to face up to their corporate responsibilities, or face potential legal action if the Hinkley project damages the company. Martine Orange reports.
Plans by French energy giant EDF to build two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in south-west England have already triggered the resignation of the company's finance director, led to opposition from unions and raised doubts from France's financial watchdog. Now, Mediapart can reveal, in an unprecedented move a number of EDF's own engineers have also expressed their deep misgivings about the multi-billion euro project and called for it to be delayed. As Martine Orange reports, the engineers fear the Hinkley Point construction could threaten the group's plans to renew France's own nuclear power stations in the near future.
French utility giant EDF is facing mounting pressure to abandon its project to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in south-west Britain. Days after the resignation on March 7th of the state-owned group’s finance director over the financial risks involved, it was the turn of France’s national court of auditors to sound the alarm amid a damning report on EDF’s international operations. Martine Orange reports.
A project by French energy giant EDF to build two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in south-west Britain has mobilised large numbers of its staff and management against the move. They believe that the huge industrial and financial risks for EDF may result in a meltdown of the group. Martine Orange reports.
French nuclear safety inspectors have discovered numerous faults with crucial safety valves in the cooling system of what will be one of the world’s biggest nuclear power plants under construction at Flamanville, on the Channel coast, Mediapart can reveal. The malfunctioning valves for the Areva-designed, third-generation European Pressurized Reactor could cause its meltdown, in a similar scenario to the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the US. The inspectors’ damning confidential report, obtained by Mediapart, follows the revelation last month that the Flamanville EPR reactor’s vessel contained excessive amounts of carbon that could cause it to crack. Pascale Pascariello reports.
French utility giant EDF ignored warnings issued to it by France’s supreme nuclear safety watchdog, the ASN, of dangerous faults in the machinery being used for the construction of a reactor in what will become one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants, Mediapart can reveal. Alerted to the problem, the Ministry of Labour has now ordered EDF to halt use of the machinery until the flaws are corrected. As Pascale Pascariello reports, the problem is just one of a series that have blighted the building of the European Pressurized Reactor at Flamanville, in northern France, with its completion already delayed by four years amid spiralling costs.
The spiralling cost of the new nuclear reactor at Flamanville, north-west France, is testing the professional reputation of utility giant EDF.